VC Leaves Firm After Violating Trading Rules

Jeffrey Barnes this morning was asked to resign as a general partner with Oxford Bioscience Partners, after the firm learned that he had not complied with policies governing personal securities trading. An OBP spokesman says that he did so with immediate effect, and that it is not expected to have a “material effect” on portfolio performance or firm operations.

The spokesman adds that Barnes’ transgression involved personally trading in publicly-held OBP portfolio companies without the knowledge of his fellow partners.

Barnes originally joined the Boston-based venture capital firm in 1999, after having spent time in the healthcare M&A trenches with both Robbie Stephens and Needham & Co. Before that, he was co-founder and CEO of cardiovascular device company Biosyss Corp. He was one of five general partners on the firm’s $150 million fifth fund, which closed in 2006. According to his most recent bio on the OBP website (since removed), Barnes is a member of the Clinical Cardiology Council of the American Heart Association, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, the Harvard-M.I.T. Health Sciences and Technology Advisory Council and the National Society of Professional Engineers. He also is on the Board of Overseers of Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

Barnes was one of four remaining general partners with OBP, as colleague Michael Lytton left earlier this year to take a job with Biogen Idec. The firm currently plans to stick with its three GP structure, rather than add a fourth via either promotion or outside hire. Barnes’ departure is not believed to trigger keyman provisions in OBP’s limited partnership agreements.

OBP currently is in the process of reassigning Barnes’ portfolio company board seats to other investment professionals.

We do not have an up-to-date list, but Barnes at various points has served on the boards of the following companies: Accelerated Technologies, Applied Spine Technologies, CardioFocus, CircuLite, Claros Diagnostics, Coherex Medical, Cohesive Technologies, Criticare Systems, FlowMedica, HydroCision, Intrapace, Mitralign, Pathway Medical Technologies, Percutaneous Valve Technologies, SmartPill Corporation, X-Cell Medical and SuperDimension.

What follows is the spokesman’s statement, which was left via voicemail:

“Jeffrey Barnes has resigned from Oxford Bioscience Partners, effective immediately. The decision was prompted by the discovery of his non-compliance with OBP’s internal policies and procedures concerning personal securities trading. While the situation is regrettable, we do not believe it will have any material impact on the performance of the OBP portfolio or the overall enterprise. We remain committed to working with our portfolio companies and delivering attractive returns for our investors.”